Sunday, November 30, 2014

Get Up

Get Up

Middle-earth comes to London

To celebrate the third and final film in The Hobbit Trilogy, New Zealand is transporting a slice of Middle-earth to London in the form of a life-sized Hobbit hole sitting inside London’s luxurious Claridge’s hotel.

Up to 200 international entertainment media attending the world première of The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies - a production of New Line Cinema and Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Pictures (MGM) - will use the Middle-earth-inspired space for interviews, as a part of the three-day première media program in anticipation of the film's UK release from Warner Bros. Pictures on December 12.
The authentic display brings 100% Middle-earth, 100% Pure New Zealand to life, illustrating that New Zealand is a real place that will live on as a spectacular holiday destination after The Hobbit Trilogy’s epic conclusion. 


The Hobbit hole will host media interviews with actor Billy Boyd who performs the end title song for The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies. Billy Boyd has had an on-going relationship with New Zealand since first playing Peregrin 'Pippin' Took more than a decade ago inThe Lord of the Rings Trilogy.

Created in collaboration with Hobbiton Movie Set in Matamata – one of New Zealand’s most successful tourist destinations – and flown to London by the “official airline of Middle-earth” Air New Zealand, the Hobbit hole is expected to inspire considerable worldwide media coverage for New Zealand. 


Tourism New Zealand's Chief Executive Kevin Bowler says the exhibit will be used it to tell the story of New Zealand as a fun, must-see tourism destination, as well as an innovative, creative nation, and a great place to make films and do business.
"New Zealand has come to London with a spectacular display that will be open for five days. You will literally step into Hobbiton past a picket fence, garden and a letterbox. On opening the Hobbit door, guests will be transported into New Zealand where sweeping images of New Zealand’s stunning landscapes will showcase what you can experience in Middle-earth,” says Kevin.
"We are delighted to be a part of the worldwide media programme in London, and believe the New Zealand room, which houses the Hobbit hole will motivate all those who experience it to share the wider New Zealand story."

About the Hobbit hole and New Zealand room

The Hobbit hole has been created at Hobbiton Movie Set in Matamata, with input from Hobbiton General Manager Russell Alexander, The Hobbit Trilogy Art Director Brian Massey, head joiner Peter Hawke and builder Darren Roa.
The Hobbit hole features a door that was originally constructed as part of the Green Dragon Inn and used during filming of The Hobbit Trilogy, but was removed when the set was transformed into a functional part of the Hobbiton tourism experience. 


All images: Courtesy of Tourism New Zealand


About The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies
New Line Cinema and Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Pictures Present a Wingnut Films Production, The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies. As with the first two films in the Trilogy, The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey and The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug, the final film is a production of New Line Cinema and Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Pictures (MGM), with New Line managing production. Warner Bros. Pictures is handling worldwide theatrical distribution, with select international territories as well as all international television distribution being handled by MGM. #OneLastTime 



Monday, November 17, 2014

Sofitel Fiji Resort and Spa

Guest blogger for Get Up & Go today is Tiana Templeman - just back from Fiji and a stay at the classy Sofitel . . .

How can you tell guests of all ages are having a relaxing, happy holiday? When the aqua aerobics instructor ducks away to turn up the music and a pool full of adults begin following the moves of some kids who start 'leading’ the class.

This was one of many highlights during a recent stay at the Sofitel Fiji Resort and Spa,, a 296 room Denarau hotel which is less than 20 minutes drive from the airport. This classy resort is the ideal spot to enjoy the type of holiday where the biggest decision is whether to go for another swim or head out for dinner.

Sofitel Fiji is family-friendly but couples are not forgotten. Accommodation on one side of the resort is allocated those travelling with children which keeps the other rooms blissfully quiet, even when the resort is busy.

All rooms have a balcony and ocean views and are large by today’s standards. My favourite feature was the chaise lounge which proved ideal for relaxing on with a good book. Pure Fiji products in the bathroom added a touch of local luxury.
Dining options at the hotel include everything from a French patisserie to a Fiji-inspired buffet and fine dining at V Restaurant. The comprehensive buffet breakfast served at Lagoon Restaurant could easily see you through until dinner.

Couples who prefer to enjoy breakfast without children around will enjoy the adults-only à la carte menu at beachfront dining venue Salt. Complimentary sparkling wine is included at both breakfast venues to get you in the holiday mood.
Sofitel Fiji Resort and Spa is conveniently located near the port where the majority of day trips depart from but, really, there is little reason to leave.


Tiana Templeman is an award-winning travel journalist who loves inspiring travellers aged 30 and above to get out and see the world. You can follow her adventures at
Images by Tiana Templeman

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Get Up & Go: Dip your toe in summers past

Get Up & Go: Dip your toe in summers past

Dip your toe in summers past

Get Up & Go's guest blogger - The Global Goddess talks retro
Summer has always meant something magical to someone like me who grew up in country Queensland, several hundred kilometres west of the beach. Every December, my parents would cram the four of us kids into the back of the Kingswood – a spectacular gold with green vinyl seats upon which we sat with no seat belts – we simply stuck to the spot in which we were plonked. Those same seats were freezing cold on young bums in winter, and you didn’t dare complain back in 1970 – it was all part of the experience. We also packed our blue budgie – Popeye – and one of my sisters always carried a packet of Cheezels which sent the bird ballistic as he had quite a penchant for salt.


In the front along the bench seat sat mum, dad and me, the youngest child relegated to the worst spot and also because I suffered car sickness. The potent combination of mum’s cheap perfume, the screeching budgie, the distinct lack of air-conditioning, and dad cursing at all the city traffic ensured I was always sick. And out we’d all pile on the hot roadside for a few minutes to regroup before continuing on towards destination dysfunctional and Coolangatta.


I mention this all now because of the growing tourism trend which harks back to the retro era. With all the you-beaut high rises and five-star resorts in the world, I, and many others, find ourselves increasingly grasping for glimpses of our childhood beach holidays. Those were the days of Coppertone tanning lotion, blue bottle stings and watermelon slices on the beach. I love the new movement towards retro swimwear and found myself recently purchasing a pair which reminded me of my mum, aunty and nana, all sitting on their fold up chairs against the rock at Greenmount Beach. We used to call that giant rock “mum’s rock” because that’s where we’d find her all summer.


And it seems I am not alone. On the Gold Coast, QT Hotel in Surfers Paradise (above) attempts to capture that essence of childhood summers with its fun and flirty retro interior design. There’s splashes of orange everywhere and an old car parked out the front with a surfboard on top. The next generation of Meter Maids still stroll the streets in their skimpy bikinis but they can have that sliver of gold. Me, I’m bottling my childhood in my new bathing suit and basking in the golden memories it delivers.

The Global Goddess is a travel, dating and sex blog targeted at strong, smart, sexy and spiritual women (and the great men who love us!). Follow her adventures at


Sunday, November 2, 2014

Get Up & Go: Get Up & Go

Get Up & Go: Get Up & Go: Get Up & Go

Get Up & Go

Get Up & Go

Hydro Majestic - it's back in style!

I like to think I have my own history with the Hydro Majestic Hotel in the Blue Mountain's village of Medlow Bath. We went to the Blue Mountains by train way back, and would make our way to the 'Hydro' for afternoon tea, sitting by a vast open fire. Us kids would wander the cavernous rooms and scoot along the 'alleyway' that was uneven, rickety and on an upward slope.
Aunties and uncles would tell us stories of grand balls that were held in the rooms in their youth and there was always a whispered conversation and giggles as my relatives regaled each other with scandalous tales - which they were part of!
Later as a teenager I would end up there late Sunday afternoon for tea again after weekend of bushwalking in the region.
As the years went by, there was the odd weekend away with gin and tonics on the balcony to watch the sunset over the rugged and beautiful escarpment. Then it seemed to disappear - it was being re-done! And now it takes its place within the ranks of Australia's great hotels. I'm so glad she's back!
Everybody, meet the Hydro Majestic!
It has been six year's in the making and after a $30 million spend - lookin' damn sharp!
                                         Casino lobby.
The venues will open to the public on Friday 31 October with a series of five exclusive High Tea events in The Casino Lobby and The Wintergarden. The other venues: The Boiler House will also open progressively from Friday 31 October and The Salon Du in the coming weeks, bringing the Hydro back to the people of Australia, celebrating its wonderful history and providing a broad palette of dining, event and public facilities.
The challenge of adding the next layer of history to these remarkable buildings has not been taken lightly, examining and respecting the Hydro Majestic’s social history and heritage and its much loved place in the memories of so many people.
Architect Ashkan Mostaghim of Mostaghim & Assoc has created the revised formula for the site including the new Hydro Majestic Pavilion and interpretation of the old Boiler House to create a provocative and exciting café environment with a vista over the Majestic Point Lookout.

                                         The Boiler House cafe.
The interior of the hotel has been brought back to life in the spirit and style with which it opened. Peter Reeve and the team at CRD have produced luxurious new, and historically inspired interiors, which reference the past and fold into the present with absolute luxe. They have embraced the tradition of bespoke design to interpret the many periods of the hotels history, creating a unique range of carpets, paints, wallpapers and furnishings with Australian designers and suppliers based on period influences referencing the austere beauty of the Edwardian, the generosity of the Art Nouveau of the Belle Époque and moments of Art Deco.
Steeped in historical and social significance, the newly renovated Hydro Majestic Hotel, with its outstanding facilities and fine dining, is set to offer an enormous boost to tourism and employment in the region and will re-establish the Blue Mountains as a glamorous national and international tourist destination.
Hydro Majestic was recently relaunched under Escarpment Group’s boutique label after an extensive refurbishment.
The Escarpment Group is a unique collection of Luxury Escapes in the World Heritage Listed Blue Mountains. It incorporates 4 luxury brands that are iconic to the Blue Mountains;

Lilianfels Resort and Spa -

Echoes Boutique hotel & Restaurant -

The Hydro Majestic Hotel

Parklands Country Gardens & Lodges


Each of these established properties is steeped in history and surrounded by dramatic landscapes and breathtaking views that are unique to the Blue Mountains region.